Certified Angus Beef LLC has endorsed the American Angus Association's AngusSource program as a supply channel for an increasingly popular and ever more difficult brand to supply. The decision by its board of directors provides a second avenue for cattle to be considered for Certified Angus Beef brand evaluation.
"AngusSource is a perfect match for our brand," says Jim Riemann, CAB president. "Its approach to sourcing and promoting Angus genetics builds upon our dedication to delivering the best-tasting beef."
Last fall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved AngusSource as a Process Verified Program. Under the program, documentation from the ranch of origin ensures cattle have a minimum of 50% Angus genetics. It provides genotypic, or genetic, verification of cattle's Angus heritage.
Phenotype is the primary method used to determine if cattle can be evaluated for the brand. For nearly 30 years, having 51% or greater black hair coat has provided visual identification of Angus-influenced cattle.
"This visual method developed by CAB - which is now the cattle standard for all USDA-certified Angus brands - will continue as the predominant method to determine eligibility," Riemann says. "The genotypic option using AngusSource is simply the next logical step for CAB, the most effective means to include cattle with documented Angus genetics."
Through AngusSource documentation, Angus-sired cattle independent of hide color can be evaluated. All beef from either method must still be presented to a USDA grader and evaluated for the brand's beef quality standards. "Those science-based specifications have been the foundation for the brand's success in every segment of the industry from the beginning," Riemann says. "AngusSource will lead us to high-quality cattle that might never have been eligible, and help meet growing demand for the brand."
CAB Packing Director Clint Walenciak notified the USDA Livestock and Meat Standardization Branch of the board's decision to endorse AngusSource and also sent letters to all licensed packers. Most packing companies have systems and trained employees to handle AngusSource traceability requirements, but the initiative must start with Angus cattle producers.
AngusSource quality manager Sara Moyer says the program has enrolled more than 100,000 cattle since it began, and more than 42,000 in the first five months of this year. Nearly 13 million cattle were evaluated for the CAB brand in 2005. "This is still a very new concept to most producers, and they are learning how to use it," says Moyer. "CAB eligibility should help drive enrollments."
Only 8% of beef meets CAB brand standards.In 2005, restaurants and grocery stores offered 533 million pounds of CAB products to consumers across the United States and internationally. For more information on CAB products, visit www.certifiedangusbeef.com.